A Way of Life
“And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”
So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.
And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.” (Daniel 1:5, 8–16 NKJV)
Observation: God is looking for a lifestyle, not a diet program. He is inviting us to an abundant life, not a passing fancy. Often when I have heard the story of Daniel and his three friends, the focus is on the ten days as if eating vegetables for 10 days is the miracle cure for everything; the quick fix; the latest diet fad. But they didn’t just eat for ten days. They ate for three years. And, I believe, for the rest of their time in Babylon. The four Hebrews were committed to a lifestyle. And the reason they had the courage to live the life, is because of their radical love for the author of life.
When Daniel prayed three times a day, even in the face of death, it was because He was committed to the author of life and the way of life that Christ had called Daniel to embrace.
It is Jesus who shapes us, forms us, and matures us through the abundant life. The abundant life is about devotion to our Father, proper rest, a healthy diet, regular exercise, cheerful service, sunshine, fresh air, prayer, and study of the word. When followed consistently, these simple gifts of God will bear powerful fruits in our life. But, it is only as the Spirit of Christ “works within us to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), that we have the power to live this abundant. So ask God for the Holy Spirit, and then follow the Spirit’s lead:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death… those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:2–6 NKJV)
Friend, life in the Spirit is the kind of abundant life Daniel experienced. It is a lifestyle fueled by the in-dwelling Christ. We can’t do it in our own strength. But through His Spirit, Jesus will empower us to make healthier choices, form healthier relationships, and experience deeper intimacy with our Father God. So what are you waiting? Ask for the Holy Spirit today! Jesus himself said:
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”” (Luke 11:13 NIV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that He might empower me to live the abundant life. Teach me to pray. Help me to exercise. Teach me about discipline and routine. You know my commitments are like ropes of sand; the numerous New Years resolutions and promises I have made to myself to live a healthier… happier life. Lord help me. I can’t help myself. Lead me to cry out to you moment by moment, day by day. Lead me to eat right. Help me Jesus. I need Your strength, determination, endurance, and resolve. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.